February 26, 2024

Clarke football sees 71-0 victory in season opener

The Clarke Indians played their way to a 71-0 win over the Saydel Eagles in their season opener on Aug. 26 at Saydel.

Junior Jesus Vega started out the game with a touchdown from a 76-yard pass from junior quarterback Jack Cooley.

Cooley would have a 72.7% passing completion for the game. A touchdown by junior Shay Mathews followed by a two-point conversion by senior KJ Fry quickly brought the score to 15-0 for the Indians.

That momentum continued, and the score stood at 37-0 at halftime. The Indians put 14 points on the board during the third quarter, and 20 during the fourth.

Clarke head coach Sean Quinlan said that overall, the game was a good victory for the team. Quinlan noted they had lost several seniors last year, but this year’s team has worked hard to makeup for that loss of experience.

“They put in the time, and the young men did a great job,” said Quinlan.

Offensively, Quinlan said there was a “great distribution of the ball,” and credited Cooley with stepping up as quarterback when quarterback senior Garrett Diehl was sidelined for an injury; the pair rotates every series. Freshman Cristian Espinoza stepped in for injured junior Oscar Castro for kicking, making 7 of 9 attempts for seven additional points.

On defense, the Saydel Eagles were not able to move the ball, against the Indians, with two blocked punts, getting a kickoff back for a touchdown. The Indians had 26 tackles, led by senior Mason Fry’s 7.5; there were nine total loss tackles.

“Really, a great team effort,” said Quinlan, both the players and the coaching staff. “A clean victory; offense and defense, they know their roles and responsibilities.”

Quinlan added the team has some areas to work and improve on, but overall, it was a good first showing, especially for not having a scrimmage the week prior.

“To see us come out like we did, it exceeded my expectations,” said Quinlan.

Clarke faces off against Colfax-Mingo (0-1) this Friday, Sept. 2 at home.